- Caste Politics - this is supposedly sensitive, to whom I am unsure, so I will just link to an article extracted from pro-Pakatan Malaysiakini as an example of such criticism. No cow's head here!
- MIC has not been spared the typical accusation of Pakatan and its various media - so of course they say DS Samy is popular due to corruption!
- I am sure that internally some people will start claiming 'phantom voters' and biased vote counting as reasons for DS Samy's choices winning top posts...
- The pro-Samy 'accusation' would be that 'there is still no other credible alternative'! Of course, one could say that this is also DS Samy's own failing.
- My own satirical favourite is that DS Samy has put a toll in front of MIC HQ and gives a free pass to all his supporters and charges variable toll rates on his opponents according to the level of anti-Samyness. Now that voting is over, the anti-Samy get a discount!
However, there are perhaps more fundamental issues that need to be discussed by the Indian community and its various political fronts like MIC, PPP, IPF, Hindraf, etc. moving forward. These issues revolve around where the Indian community sees themselves in Malaysia moving forward. Until this matter is resolved at the community level, the Indian community will remain unhappy with its lot of life as participants in the great Malaysian experiment.
Why do I say this? In my view, the Indian community has been tossed about by political forces far too easily over the last few years. This in turn is symptomatic of a community that struggles with:
- A large income and educational disparity within the community, with neither a clear majority in influence nor an active middle-class visibly bridging the gap in priorities within the community.
- A passionate culture imbued by the spirit of the Ramayana that permeates across the community, despite a sizable minority not being Hindu in religion. This results in a tempestuous nature that can easily be stoked from individual anger into mob behaviour, especially when injustice is perceived.
- An undeniably strong link to its mother country India, and in many cases, the various home provinces of individual ethnicities, that impacts upon the community's outlook on issues. This link is sustained not just by pilgrimages to India, but a steady influx of Indian nationals into Malaysia for a variety of employment forms, from temple priests to Mamak store workers.
- A community that is still fractured by the various differences between internal groups, from sub-ethnicities (Tamil, Malayalam, Punjabi, etc) through to religion (Hindu, Islam, Christian, etc) with no universal defining point of unity such as what the Mandarin language has become for the Chinese. OK, maybe Ghandi, but everyone loves Ghandi! So, what else?
- A community that is very open to the influences of leaders of other communities, especially the majority Malay leadership. Where this is benign, then it is fine, but where it leads to mob behaviour such as the norm of the 'Anwar Ibrahim' type of Malay 'leadership', it actually leaves the community worse off.
So to my own question, whether MIC is in real trouble now, I would say yes it is! With DS Samy's grip on the party clear, the community may give up on a political solution to its woes and look for alternatives. The alternative may be political, but in this case, DS Samy's likely right in guessing an Indian political rival to MIC is some years in coming. However, Indians may choose to move primarily through community NGOs, like the Chinese, which would risk making MIC an irrelevance.
That Hindraf rose to prominence so quickly, putting aside its racist rhetoric, dramatic claims and mob behaviour, is indicative of not just the role NGOs can fulfil but also the readiness of the Indian community to support them! Support for the Kampung Buah Pala Residence Association's efforts is another.
The saving grace for MIC is that it is attempting to cap its troubles with some key constitutional amendments, such as to the President's term in office, and at least it is ahead of PPP with regards to its Youth Chief, who is the community's choice, not DS Samy's and is smart enough not avoid silliness like asking the government to make the UMNO Youth chief a minister! However, it has to do something to bridge the high risk period which is the now to the future.
I am glad though that DS Samy, for all his faults, does retain a good political head on his shoulders. It is smart of him to allow others, mainly junior reps of the party, to respond against Tun Dr M's recent comments against his leadership... and smarter still for defending Tun Dr M after...